Sadly I could not find any news of Robert’s death in the media, but did get emails about it from Michael Jaworski, Latif Harris, Anne Waldman, and others. Robert La Vigne, artist, passed away February 20th from a stroke. Continue reading
Click here for the Kill Your Darlings trailer, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall and Elizabeth Olsen.
A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
The film is directed by John Krokidas and will have a limited theatrical release in North America after the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.
The Guardian’s Damon Wise said:
“…the real deal, a genuine attempt to source the beginning of America’s first true literary counterculture of the 20th century. Kill Your Darlings creates a true sense of energy and passion, for once eschewing the clacking of typewriter keys to show artists actually talking, devising, and ultimately daring each other to create and innovate. And though it begins as a murder-mystery, Kill Your Darlings may be best described as an intellectual moral maze, a story perfectly of its time and yet one that still resonates today.
When Ray Manzarek, of the Doors, died, I heard it on the car radio on the way to work. I didn’t rush to blog about it because it shocked me so, and later I got busy. So here it is.
Manzarek died on May 20 of bile-duct cancer.
My favorite story of him and Jim Morrison is how they were talking on Venice Beach, when Morrison shared his lyrics of the song “Moonlight Drive”. This is partly how the Doors all started.
Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Penetrate the evenin’ that the
City sleeps to hide
Let’s swim out tonight, love
It’s our turn to try
Parked beside the ocean
On our moonlight drive
Micklangelo, a visual creator and conceptual thinker, is fascinated with how the 1960s revolution of thought and sensibility continues. He describes Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL as one of the “genetic markers” in the development of modern culture and notes that while expressing his own personal turmoil within the rigid moral confines of 1950’s America, Ginsberg touched a universal nerve, which helped to ignite the counterculture forming within the world’s dissatisfied youth. Political, social, and sexual themes are explored and described in language so poetical that the poem’s power is still relevant today.
I still haven’t seen On the Road yet. It has had a limited airing and hasn’t come near where I live.
I’m a bit more excited about Big Sur coming out this year. It was one of my favorite Keroauc books (after The Dharma Bums). Now if they’d only make that into a movie! I once heard from Gary Snyder about climbing the Matterhorn, yet have never climbed it like I once dreamed. Now I no longer live in California, either. But every time I eat a Hershey’s chocolate bar, I think of that book.
Big Sur is not only a book I enjoyed but a place I loved to visit. The movie is directed by Michael Polish and stars Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac.
Dawn is most horrible of all with the owls suddenly calling back and forth in the misty moon haunt — And even worse than dawn is morning, the bright sun only GLARING in on my pain, making it all brighter, hotter, more maddening, more nervewracking — I even go roaming up and down the valley in the bright Sunday morning sunshine with bag under arm looking hopelessly for some spot to sleep in — As soon as I find a spot of grass by the path I realize I cant lie down there because the tourists might walk by and see me — As soon as I find a glade near the creek I realize it’s too sinister there, like Hemingway’s darker part of the swamp where ‘the fishing would be more tragic’ somehow — All the haunts and glades having certain special evil forces concentrated there and driving me away — So haunted I go wandering up and down the canyon crying with that bag under my arm: ‘What on earth’s happened to me? and how can earth be like that?’ -Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
Free books–a chapter at a time is Moon Willow Press’s new tool that allows you to freely read our books online, right here, right now–one chapter each week. We’ll even send a free copy of the book to the first 50 people who take advantage of this tool and read this book AND like it AND write a well-written and positive review at either Amazon or at another popular book media outlet. We’re not kidding. Just contact the press for more information. Our first title is Infernal Drums (discover more about this title below). Check back January 20th for Chapter 2. Don’t worry: we’ll keep these chapters online for some time.
About the Book
Our first freebie is Infernal Drums, written by Anthony Wright, starting with the front matter and Chapter 1. This was our first print title when we began publishing in the spring of 2011 and our only title to date that is a trade paperback. Our goal is to continue to draw readers to this beautiful, magnificent book that was actually given a very nice blurb by renowned William Hjortsberg, author and screenwriter of Falling Angel (Angel Heart, starring Robert De Niro and Micky Rourke) and Legend (starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry). Both Anthony and I have tried to get this book to Johnny Depp, because we think he’d fall in love with it. We’re not being vain. I just know a good writer when I see one, and Anthony is both wonderful and not known about enough. Yet. We’re trying to change that with the offering of his book free, a chapter a time. So please spread the word to all your friends.
Infernal Drums explores the spiritual awakening of protagonist Jonah Everman, who regards himself as a writer who drifts, but is really a drifter who writes. Journeying to Mexico, he runs afoul of the law and pays out big to avoid jail. He then heads to the capital where he finds a few kindred spirits, newspaper work, and trouble in spades. Forging an unholy alliance with occult forces, Jonah’s moral destruction seems assured. Or is it?
Anthony Wright, also author of the short story collection Smoke Ghosts & Other Outré Tales, presents powerful storytelling with a sense of compassion for people, the environment, and indigenous customs and beliefs. His perceptive description of native peoples, places, and beliefs mingles with modern-day explorers and flirts with magical realism. Wright has been compared to Burroughs, Bowles, Dostoyevsky, Kerouac, and even to some degree Joyce, as he searches out the sacred and profane of contemporary society.
The Readex Blog recently re-republished an interview with the “matriarch of the Beat Generation,” Carolyn Cassady. Cassady is nearing 90 but still hot.
Sixty years after publication of Jack Kerouac’s influential novel of the Beat Generation, On the Road has been adapted for film. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Walter Salles, the long-awaited film, scheduled to open in the U.S. this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, stars Sam Riley as Kerouac’s alter ego Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) and Kristen Stewart as Marylou (LuAnne Henderson, Cassady’s first wife). Kirsten Dunst plays Camille, the real-life Carolyn Robinson who married Cassady in 1948.
This is a kickstarter project by Heather Dalton: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nealcassady/neal-cassady-the-denver-years-0
This project is a documentary based on the autobiographical accounts of Neal Cassady and his troubled youth in Denver.
Here’s an interesting blog sent in by Loren Kantor, who is passionate for woodcutting and writing. He has done a carving of Jack Kerouac! His woodcut prints and portraits are for sale by request. Check it out.
Clara Hume’s novel Back to Garden is newly published by Moon Willow Press. The book takes place near the end of the century and follows a dozen people living in a time when climate change and ecological devastation have resulted in not only a lack of natural resources necessary to live (fresh water, arable soil, healthy forests and oceans) but also when, due to economic collapse, a lot of items we take for granted have come to a halt, including disease control, global communication, and defense. It’s every man for himself.
Beginning with a small group of survivors on an Idaho Mountain, appropriately termed Wild Mountain, descendants of a few ancient and honored homesteaders are struggling to keep their mountain healthy for living. From sunup to sundown they must care for crops, fish, horses, water, chicken, sheep, and nearby wild species. It is no accident that the group manages to grow apple trees and a garden, a hats-off to Daniel Quinn’s references to the biblical Garden of Eden in Ishmael.
The group leaves their homestead to find lost family members, while other ranchers on the mountain care for their homes temporarily. During the harsh journey across the country, the group picks up strangers who are lonely and struggling. The characters’ flashbacks to personal demons, along with personal growth, is sometimes sad and sometimes humorous but is always enlightening and redemptive.
The book, while introspective, gives a frightening view of where we’re headed unless everyone starts taking climate change seriously. The book doesn’t focus on climate change, and hardly mentions it, but does look at how people in the future are innately connected to their natural environment and thus are inspired to preserve it. The story-line is compelling, and the characters are unique in the way they react to their environments and others in the surrogate family. There are also a few nods to literary ecologists such as Henry David Thoreau, Robinson Jeffers, Bill Hotchkiss, Jack Kerouac, and and Michael McClure.
Thanks to Viking Penguin for the review copy of Joyce Johnson’s new title. I just got the book so will review it later, but for now some words from the publicist:
Advance Praise for THE VOICE IS ALL
“An exemplary biography of the Beat icon and his development as a writer . . . There’s plenty of life in these pages to fascinate casual readers, and Johnson is a sensitive but admirably objective biographer . . . A triumph of scholarship.” —Kirkus
“…brings an insider’s perspective to this insightful study of how Kerouac found his literary voice . . . [She] excels in her colorful, candid assessment of the evolution of this voice—up through the genesis of On the Road—the point where most other appraisals of Kerouac begin.” -Publishers Weekly
“Johnson breaks new ground in this well-written account of Kerouac’s early life . . . She is particularly good at exploring the psychology of Kerouac’s relationship with women and the effect of his attachment to his mother on those relationships. The portrait of Kerouac that emerges is one of a complicated individual, full of contradictions, who, above all else, was dedicated to his art. . . Her book is essential reading for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of Kerouac’s life and work.
This is quite simply the best book about Kerouac and one of the best accounts of any writer’s apprenticeship that I have read. And it should generate a serious reconsideration of Kerouac as a classical, because hyphenated, American writer, one struggling to synthesize a doubled language, culture, and class. It’s also a terrific read, a windstorm of a story.” —Russell Banks
In THE VOICE IS ALL: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac (Viking; on sale: September 17th, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-670-02510-7; 512 pp), Joyce Johnson offers a groundbreaking portrait of Jack Kerouac as a young artist, focusing on Kerouac’s slow, often painful development as a writer over the first thirty years of his life, from his early struggles to master English through the grueling years of searching for a way to write On the Road, and ending with the astonishing breakthroughs in late 1951 that resulted in the opening sections of Visions of Cody.
Looking more deeply than previous biographers into the insular and deeply traditional Franco-American immigrant culture that Kerouac was born into, Johnson follows the implications of that heritage in both his life and his work as Kerouac uneasily attempted to balance himself between two cultures and two languages. She puts into perspective the contradictions —cultural, sexual, and psychological —that were constantly at war within him, showing how they affected his complicated relationships with his remarkable circle of friends, his mother, and with the women whose lives he passed through.
Prior biographies have focused on the more sensational aspects of Kerouac’s life rather than the long process through which he became a writer. They tell the story of a dysfunctional life, of a man who lacked a center—forgetting that the center of Kerouac’s life was always his work. In THE VOICE IS ALL Johnson, with access to the archive of Kerouac’s papers at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, material which was unavailable to previous biographers, has taken on these misconceptions and tried to liberate Kerouac from the legend that has congealed around him by emphasizing his extraordinary dedication to his craft. Johnson shows how Kerouac as a writer was created to an important degree by a wide-ranging reading and study of literature, and that he was in every way a conscious artist and a severe critic of his own work. Johnson sheds new light on the composition of On the Road, documenting how Kerouac’s legendary “spontaneous” writing was preceded by three frustrating years of revised and abandoned drafts. Johnson argues that Kerouac would have developed into an extraordinary writer even if he had never met Neal Cassady; as she reveals, Dean Moriarty is in many ways a fictional creation, used by Kerouac as a vehicle to express his own deep sense of duality.
Johnson’s experience as a writer of both fiction and memoir and her own vivid personal memories of Kerouac, with whom she had a romance when she was twenty-one years old in 1957, greatly inform her take on Kerouac’s creative process in THE VOICE IS ALL, resulting in a book that greatly deepens our understanding of his life and his achievement.
Joyce Johnson Events
- NY / September 19th / Book Court
- NY / September 25th / 192 Books
- NY / September 26th / Strand Bookstore
- Washington DC / October 11th / Politics & Prose
- New York, NY / December 5th / CUNY’s Leon Levy Center for Biography
- San Francisco, CA / January 15th / City Lights Bookstore
- Key West, FL / January 17th / Key West Literary Seminar
About the Author
Joyce Johnson’s eight books include the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Minor Characters, the recent memoir Missing Men, the novel In the Night Café, and Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957–1958 (with Jack Kerouac). She has written for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and lives in New York City.
THE VOICE IS ALL
The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
By Joyce Johnson
Viking; on sale: September 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-670-02510-7; 512 pp
Please visit our website at: www.penguin.com
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.
I guess this is old news, but I still remember from years ago big discussions on such a movie from the old beat newsgroups. I am not sure about it, but will most likely check it out!
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Road_%28film%29
Ordering info: http://www.moonwillowpress.com/?p=1338
A new science-fiction title by Jed Brody, The Philodendrist Heresy, is available for pre-order (see above). Jed wrote the book as a prayer for the preservation and resurrection of the great forests of the earth. “Philodendrist” means “tree lover.”
In The Philodendrist Heresy, Danielle Gasket’s search for ancestral secrets is imperiled by warring factions that agree about nothing but that Danielle must die.
Danielle’s home is a dystopian city beneath the earth’s surface. People have lived underground for so long that knowledge of the surface is preserved only in dwindling communities of persecuted heretics. According to the heretics, a prophet called “the philodendrist” led people underground to repent for their violent conquest of the natural world.
Following a string of clues while eluding pursuit, Danielle races toward the long-forgotten path of ascension to sunlight, relying upon her wits and valor to make it through. Finally, her mercy toward her fiercest persecutor convinces him to help her ascend to the pure waters of the sunlit world.
Welcome to the bizarre and chilling world of a subterranean future where all your needs have been anticipated and provided by society’s long dead planners . . . except freedom. You’ll cheer Brody’s plucky heroine on as she makes her break for a rumored heaven somewhere beyond her familiar hell – the very heaven we are now foolishly destroying, tree by tree.
-Stephen Wing, author of Free Ralph! An Evolutionary Fable
With her acerbic wit and unsettled intestines, Danielle Gasket may make an unlikely heroine. But her arduous journey, from techno-dystopia to a full embrace of the natural world, offers a necessary parable for our ecologically troubled times.”
-Kyle Kramer, organic farmer and author of A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt
Author Jed Brody teaches physics at Emory University and has published short stories in Atlanta’s weekly newspaper Creative Loafing. He has also published ten peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, including American Journal of Physics and Journal of Chemical Education. Jed plans to donate all his royalties from the sale of this book to Sustainable Harvest International. Moon Willow Press will also donate 5% of sales from this book to Guarding the Gifts, a non-profit organization helping to guard the gifts of the Gitga’at Nation and the Great Bear Rainforest.
One of the main reasons I’ve been enamored by beat authors for so long is because of their ecological writings. Essays and poems by Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, and many others, even Jack Kerouac’s romantic rucksack and back-to-nature writings, are ones I lobbed onto from a young age — and they carried me afloat in what was a young journey of searching. I have been reviving some of the essays I’ve written at Jack Magazine (some of them years prior) at my nature blog, Ecologue, and just recently added a piece about Michael McClure’s Point Lobos: Animism. I think it’s important that we do not separate the words and art we express with the nature around us.